06
Sep

Wexley School For Girls In The Nude

Posted by Izzy / Filed under BTS

Cal McAllister of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Cal McAllister / Co-Founder and CEO

Gabe Hajiani of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Gabe Hajiani / Production Director

Stephanie Peirolo of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Stephanie Peirolo / Director of Strategic Partnerships

Christine Wise of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Christine Wise / Director of Planning and Strategy

Ian Cohen of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Ian Cohen / Co-Founder and CCO

Todd Grant of Wexley School For Girls. Photo by John Keatley.
Todd Grant / CCD

One word sums up the experience of working with the team at the Seattle based ad agency, Wexley School for Girls: AWESOME.  The long and short of it, is that these guys and gals are a riot, and life is never dull when working or hanging out with Wexley.  They never so much as bat an eyelash when John shows up asking them to take their shirts off, dress up in chicken costumes, sprawl across the baby grand, or any other fantastically strange idea John has thrown at them over the years.  Well, actually, not everyone was on board with this concept off the bat, but everyone came around eventually after a good pep talk.

Most business executives need headshots for speaking, press, articles, etc., and the leaders at Wexley are no different.  These portraits are of the Wexley senior leadership team. As you can see, not only are they all pretty much topless, but they have Sara Coates and I smashing and manipulating their faces with our hands.  At least the men do.  The women got a couple of male interns to stand in, and it just so happened to be their first day on the job.  It was awesome, and one of those shoots where we were laughing so hard we cried a little.  Some people may have cried from awkwardness too, but it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes.  Thanks Wexley for being great sports, and for working with us to create such awesome photography.  I like to think this kind of work is the stuff that stands the test of time.

These pictures have already received some of the greatest comments on Facebook.  It’s almost like a social experiment the way some people are so confused  by these portraits.  ”They aren’t really going to use those for press are they?”  Yes, yes they are.

Here is a quick behind the scenes video of the shoot.  Can’t wait to see what happens next time.

Thanks team Wexley, and thanks as always to Gigantic Squid for retouching!

29
May

Coffee Face Campaign

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Personal Work

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Coffee Face personal shoot by advertising photographer John Keatley.

Can you relate?  You wake up in a haze, thinking a cup of coffee will do the trick. Trying to start your day out on the right foot, but instead you get a mouthful of bitter disappointment.

I had several goals pinned on the wall as I began the process of putting together this personal series. Shoot in detailed environments. Experiment with backlight where a light source is visible, or has a prominent role in the image.  And finally, have fun with facial expressions.  That was the easy part.  The hard part was coming up with the concept to make all of the elements come together. Gives you a whole new appreciation for copywriters and art directors!
Thankfully I work with some incredible people, and after some brainstorming, the bad coffee face idea was born.

So how does a personal shoot like this come together? A lot of hard work, and a crew of talented and creative people. The car shoot was the first of the three, and this BTS video by Eric Becker is a good walkthrough of what it all looks like on set.

The second shoot was the kitchen image.  Locating and securing the home was by far the most difficult part. After finding and locking in the location, we received a text the night before the shoot, which said it was no longer happening with no explanation.  I knew that kitchen was perfect for this shot, so after a lot of leg work and negotiating, we were back on track.   There is a certain mindset I feel is invaluable and absolutely necessary to make it as a photographer.  Tattoo these phrases on your arm, and never forget them.  No excuses, always ask questions, politely don’t take no for an answer, and do whatever it takes to make it work. There is always a solution, no matter what the problems you are faced with.  Wrapping your mind around these ideas will help prepare you for the struggles you are guaranteed to face as a photographer on almost a daily basis.

I wrapped this series up with the park bench shot.  I scouted several parks in Seattle until I found a bench I really liked.  It ended up being in a large forested park, which was a perfect place to shoot.  The permit was affordable, and it was a wide open space without crowd’s of people and traffic to worry about.  After the shoot with the bench and model, I woke up at sunrise the next day, and shot around an urban neighborhood near downtown Seattle.  It is important to make sure the light and angles of the environment match the light on the bench and model so the finished product looks as realistic as possible.  I made sure all of the landscape images I shot had the sun in the correct place according to where I placed lights on the model shoot.  I also used a tripod so my camera height and angle was the same as it was during the model shoot.

I love working like this because it gives me complete control of the final image without being restricted by certain realities.

Thanks to my awesome crew for helping make this project shine.
Talent: JJ Kissinger, Gabe Rodriguez, Katelyn Price
Production: Elizabeth Atwood
Retouching: Ian Goode / Gigantic Squid
Assistants: Will Foster, Gregg White, Oliver Ludlow
BTS video and stills: Eric Becker
Hair and Makeup: Cara Aeschliman
Wardrobe: Bryan Carle

Thank you’s also go out to Seattle Parks and Rec and Windermere Capitol Hill.

22
Jan

Drinks With Murray Stenson

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Editorial Work, Tear Sheets

I hinted at a fun assignment I was working on last month on Twitter, and now I am excited to to be able to share the images with you.  I had a lot of catching up to do when I first got the assignment to photograph Murray Stenson from Art Director Jane Sherman at Seattle Weekly, but it didn’t take long for me to find out that Murray is widely regarded as the best bartender in the country.  Don’t believe me?Just ask Esquire, Playboy and Tales of the Cocktail.  It felt like when you get a new car, and all of a sudden you realize that just about everyone else on the road has the same car as you.  As soon as I got this assignment, it seemed like everyone I knew was going out to get a drink from Murray.  Apparently I was the last person to know.  I was quite excited to not only photograph Murray, but to also have a drink from him.

I did the shoot at Canon, which is a new bar in Seattle where Murray works, along with an all-star group of bartenders led by Jamie Boudreau who is also the owner.  There is a bit of a wait to get in, but I can tell you the wait is well worth it.  I filmed a short video of Murray mixing and explaining how to make an Absinthe Julep, which you can see below.  And yes, I did get to drink it after we were done filming.  Someone had to, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.  We did have to do 2 takes, but thankfully my assistant handled the second one since we were dealing with 124 proof.  For what it’s worth, I made sure the video was the last thing we did so my pictures wouldn’t be out of focus.

Although Murray has been written up in many other magazines, this article is the first time he has told his story.  It was written by Mike Seely, and is a really fascinating read.  Here is the link to the article if you are interested.  Along with the video, I also included a few behind the scenes pictures at the bottom.

Thanks to Jane Sherman for working with me on this, and thanks to Murray and Jamie for being such gracious hosts and subjects.  Photo retouching by the fine folks at Gigantic Squid.

Behind the scenes pictures by Lonnie Webb.

21
Sep

I’ve Been Framed

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Press & Interviews, Videos

Thank you to everyone who wrote in and asked the fine folks at FRAMED to do an interview with me. It was very flattering to get the call to do this, and fun to spend the day with Melissa and the whole crew. I am blown away by what a great job they did with this video from top to bottom. They actually made me look somewhat respectable, which is no small feat.  In about 15 years, when Isla is an unruly teenager, I am going to make her watch this video, and then I will look her in the eyes, and say, “Respect”.

I know that 36 minute ticker may scare some of you, but I got several comments and emails today from people who said they didn’t plan on watching more than three minutes, and ended up getting sucked in and watched the whole thing.  Hopefully that is incentive enough to press play.  Even if you only have time for three minutes.  There are no axes, or wood carving in this video, but there are a couple of pretty funny moments with a (Spoiler Alert!) karate master.  Which reminds me, I am really excited you get to meet some of my creative companions who pop up in the video as well.

As always, thanks so much for your interest and support of my work.  It means a lot to me, and thank you again to FRAMED!

21
Jul

MiiR Commercial Production Stills

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS

Just wrapped up filming my first commercial, shot for MiiR, with my co-director Eric Becker of We Are Shouting.  It was a really fun shoot and the footage is looking great.  We are hoping to have everything wrapped up in the next week.  For now, here are some of the production stills by Scott Everett.  Thanks Scott!  Behind every great production is a wonderful crew, and the crew on this commercial was no exception.  From left to right in the crew shot (last image) is Caven Keith, DJ, Lauri, Becker, Rodrigo, Nina Carduner, Scott Everett, Keatley, and Sarah Finkelstein.  Not pictured is our hair and makeup artist Annabelle Petry.

 

18
Jul

Keatley Liberia Video

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS, Videos

I feel really good about this video, and I think it presents an honest look at my trip to Liberia with MiiR this past January.  Several of my images were recently selected in the 2011 PDN Faces contest, and I thought this would be a good excuse to put together a video that shows a little more of what the experience was like and how the images came together.  I cannot say enough about my editor for this video, Andy Maier.  He put so much thought and hard work into this, and his efforts made all the difference.  I feel blessed to be able to work with wonderfully creative people, such as Andy and everyone else I have been creating with this past year.

The man at the beginning of the video is Pastor Kondoh, and he will be coming to Seattle in just a couple of weeks for a project MiiR CEO Bryan Pape and I are working on.  I can’t wait to see him again.  This will be a trip of many firsts for him, including his first time out of Africa, and his first time on an airplane.  Without sounding like a tease, I do have a little bit of freedom to talk more about the project I referred to above.  You can hear about it in greater detail on the podcast interview I did with Faded & Blurred recently.  I start talking about it around minute 40.

27
Jun

Giant Cat Face

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS

Photographer John Keatley helping his subject feel more comfortable with a giant cat face.

I get a lot of questions about how I work with my subjects to make them feel comfortable.  A photographer’s interactions and technique with his or her subject(s) is one of the most important aspects of a photo shoot, next to being prepared.  I have a lot of thoughts and ideas on this subject, but one idea I thought I would share today is a giant cat face.  I don’t think I need to explain why this works, but here is how you can try it out on your own.  Place a giant cat face over your left shoulder so it is facing your subject.  This will generally help your subject feel more at ease.  If they hate cats or giant cat faces, then they may not feel so comfortable, but at least you will still get some interesting expressions.  It’s a win win for you.

Here is how you can approach it.

Subject: “What’s with the giant cat face?”

Photographer: “What giant cat face?” (It’s important to pretend you don’t know what they are talking about.)

Subject: “The one right behind you, staring at me.”

Photographer: Slowly look around the room, and then discover the giant cat face.  ”Oh, that giant cat face.  Don’t worry about him.  Dante is here to help you feel more comfortable.”

There you have it.  Now you know one way to make your subject more comfortable.  Use a giant cat face.

04
May

The Woodsman Production Stills

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under BTS

A short promotional film starring yours truly is in the works.  That’s right, I am the (burly) woodsman.  Editing will wrap up in a couple of days, but in the meantime, here are some production stills to pique your interest.  I don’t think these will give away too much.  It was a really fun project, and quite a different experience being on the other side of the camera.  After holding several axes on my shoulder for extended periods of time, I was rewarded with a really deep bruise.  Acting is hard and painful!  When I got home, Nichelle punched me in the shoulder and told me to suck it up.  She keeps me grounded.

I will explain this film a little more and talk about the wonderful team I worked with when I post the video next week.

Production stills by Dylan Priest.  Pictured: Rodrigo Valenzuela, Eric Becker, Brandon Hilliard, Michelle Chappron, John Keatley, and Oliver the dog.

*UPDATE* Watch The Woodsman Video Here.